Board of County Commissioners
Master of Business Administration, with Honors, Thunderbird School of Global Management, Glendale, Arizona, August 1981. Studies at Templeton College at the University of Oxford, England and at La Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara, Mexico.
Bachelor of Science in Marketing, Cum Laude, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, December 1979.
High School Diploma, Clearwater High School, 1976.
- AchieveHers Woman of the Year, 2017
- Girl Scouts of West Central Florida Hall of Fame, 2016
- TBRPC Herman W. Goldner Award for Regional Leadership, 2011
- Tampa Bay Partnership Chair’s Cup for Excellence in Regionalism, 2009
- ITS Florida, ITS Champion of the Year, 2006
- Tampa Bay Business Journal Business Woman of the Year, Government Category, 2006
- Junior Achievement Leadership Award, 2005 and Leadership Silver Award, 2010
- Florida Redevelopment Association, 2005, Special Achievement Award
- Suncoast League of Cities, 2005, Award of Special Recognition
- Sertoma - Service to Mankind Award - 2000
- Who’s Who of American Women (1999-2000 edition) and Millennium Edition (2000-2001)
- Leadership Pinellas, Distinguished Alumni Award, 2000
- Soroptimist Women Honoring Women, 1999
- Girl Scout Woman of Distinction Award, 1999
- Virginia H. Lazzara Award, YWCA Service Award, 1998
- Volunteer of the Year, Junior League of Clearwater-Dunedin, 1994 and 1997
- University of Florida: Outstanding Female Graduate for Leadership, Fall 1979; Hall of Fame; Florida Blue Key
Pinellas County Government
County Commissioner: Appointed in January 1999 by Governor Bush to fill an unexpired term. Subsequently, elected in September 2000 to a four-year term, and again in 2004, 2008, 2012, 2016, and 2020 (unopposed). The Board of County Commissioners is a seven-member legislative and governing body of Pinellas County. They are given the authority by the State constitution to adopt local ordinances, approve the County budget and set millages for all departments under the County Administrator and the Constitutional Officers and to make decisions on long range planning and future growth for Pinellas County.
City of Clearwater, Clearwater, Florida
Commissioner: April 1996 - January 1999. An elected 3-year position on a five-member Commission which discharges the obligations and responsibilities prescribed by state law, city ordinance and city charter.
Williams Architects Chartered, Clearwater, Florida
Controller: March 1987 - 1995
Responsible for all financial, legal, risk management, and insurance functions in a closely held family corporation.
Al Akeel & Brothers, Saudi Arabia
Marketing Research: 1983 - 1984
Provided comprehensive marketing analyses and reports for large electrical equipment manufacturer.
DOW Chemical USA, Houston, Texas
Marketing Representative: 1982 - 1983
Represented the Industrial Foams product line in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. Responsible for sales, technical representations, and development of new product applications.
Pinellas County Commission Representative
- Health and Human Services Leadership Board
- Forward Pinellas
- Juvenile Welfare Board
- Tampa Bay Area Regional Transit Authority (TBARTA)
- Pinellas County Commission, 2003, 2010, 2014, and 2019, Chair
- Tourist Development Council, 2003, 2010, 2014, and 2019, Chair
- Tampa Bay Partnership, 2008-2013 and 2015
- Transportation Task Force, 2010, Chair
- U.S. 19 Task Force, 2000-2001, Chair
- MPO U.S. 19 Pedestrian Safety Task Force, Chair
- Pinellas Assembly, 2003-2004, Chair
- Pinellas by Design. 2003-2005, Chair
- Pinellas Planning Council, 1996-2000, as a City of Clearwater Commissioner and a County Commissioner
- Pinellas Education Foundation, Take Stock in Children Committee, Chair
- Women's Exchange, co-Founder
- Non-Profit Leadership Center, 2019
- Plus One, a Women’s Giving Fund, Founder, 2012-2015
- Leadership Pinellas Board of Directors, Chair 2011
- Leadership Pinellas Board of Directors, 2005-2012 and 1993-1994
- Largo Library Foundation Board, 2009-2011
- Morton Plant Mease Health Care, Community Affairs Committee, 2002-2009
- Florida Blood Services, 2006-2009
- YMCA of the Suncoast Florida on the Move in Clearwater Community Board, 2005-2007
- Partners N Progress for the Arts, Inc. for the Largo Cultural Center, 2003-2006
- United Way Tampa Bay, 2003-2005
- ARC Tampa Bay (formerly UPARC), 1998-2003
- Community Pride Child Care, 1993-2000
- Ruth Eckerd Hall Performing Arts Center Foundation, 1996-2000
- Clearwater Homeless Intervention Project (CHIP), 1999-2001
- Gateway Children’s Shelter, 1991-1997
- Florida West Ballet, 1993
- Girl’s, Inc., 1991
- Susan G. Komen Tampa Bay Foundation, 2000
- 211 Tampa Bay Cares, 2000-2003, Past President
- Friends of Weedon Island
- Religious Community Services, 2001-2003
- Largo Chamber of Commerce, 2002-2003
Board of Trustees: Junior Achievement of West Central Florida, 2002-2006; YWCA of Tampa Bay - 1997-2003, Chairman, 1999.
Past Community Projects: Sunshine Playground at the Long Center, David Mason Children’s Art Museum at the Dunedin Fine Art Center, Gateway Children’s Center at Community Pride Child Care Center, Education Grants for the Public Schools, Tampa Bay Harvest, and a Foster Care Recruitment and Parental program.
Fundraisers: 2005 Co-Chair; Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, 1999-2001; American Heart Association Walk, 1999 and 2002; American Cancer Society - Co-Chairman 1995 Luncheon with the largest profit in 31 years; David Mason Children’s Art Museum Steering Committee/Dunedin Fine Arts Center - 1993-1997; Teddy Bear Picnic for Family Service Center - 1994-1995.
School Volunteer: Leila Davis Elementary PTA - 1st Vice President - 1994-1995; Leila Davis Elementary - Classroom Assistance - 1993-1997; Safety Harbor Middle School Doorways Mentor - 1998-1999, North Ward Elementary mentor – 2000-2002; Junior Achievement mentor, 2002.
Civic: Association of Junior Leagues International - Nominating Board - 1995-1997; Junior League of Clearwater-Dunedin: President - 1992-1993; Chi Chi Rodriguez Youth Foundation Volunteer; Leadership Pinellas Class of 1991; Leadership St. Petersburg Class of 1999; City of Clearwater Charter Review Committee – 1994; Suncoast Tiger Bay, 1998-2009; Leadership America class of 2007.
Karen Williams Seel was appointed to the Pinellas County Commission by Governor Bush in January 1999. She has since been reelected in 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012, 2016, and 2020. Prior to this, she served as a Clearwater City Commissioner from 1996 to 1999. Her father, the late Don Williams, served as a Clearwater City Commissioner from 1967 to 1975. Karen is proud to follow in a family tradition of public service.
Karen was born and raised in Clearwater. She left for eight years to live, study and work in Gainesville, Florida; Oxford, England; Phoenix, Arizona; Guadalajara, Mexico; Houston, Texas; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia. Returning to Clearwater in 1984, she moved to the Countryside area of Clearwater in 1992 and moved to Belleair in 2013.
In an official capacity, Karen serves as a Pinellas County Commissioner. She also serves on the Juvenile Welfare Board, Health and Human Services Leadership Board, Forward Pinellas and the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transit Authority (TBARTA). Within our community, Karen previously served on the Junior Achievement Board of Directors, UPARC Foundation Board of Directors, the YWCA Board of Trustees, Religious Community Services, the United Way Board of Directors, Friends of Weedon Island and Brooker Creek Preserves, the Greater Largo Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and 211 Tampa Bay Cares. She continues to serve on the Pinellas Education Foundation and Chair of Take Stock in Children. Karen is also a former member of the Omelette Party Committee, a major fundraiser for ARC Tampa Bay. Karen has been instrumental in looking to our future and bringing our cities and county together. She has Chaired Forward Pinellas, the U.S. 19 Task Force, the Pinellas Assembly, Pinellas by Design and the U.S. 19 Pedestrian Safety Task Force.
Karen is a past president of the Junior League of Clearwater-Dunedin and was instrumental in community projects such as the Sunshine Playground at the Long Center in Clearwater, David Mason's Children's Art Museum at the Dunedin Fine Art Center, Gateway Children's Shelter at Community Pride Day Care, Education Grants for the public schools, Tampa Bay Harvest and a Foster Care Recruitment and Parental program.
Karen has been married to Ron Seel for over 30 years and has two adult sons. Her hobbies include walking, reading, and traveling.